What You Can Do When You Travel That Can Save Your Life

Last week we discussed wearing support hose and support socks to protect you against your enemies DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and PE (Pulmonary Embolism) when traveling (“Who Looks After The Security Of Your Legs“). Well, you are finally preparing for that trip of a lifetime (one that lasts more than 5 hours). If you have ever had a DVT or have a family history of DVT, a trip to your physician might be in order. Discuss with your physician if a preventative dose of asprin or low-molecular-weight heparin would be appropriate for you. Once this is done, be sure you have a good pair of knee high or thigh high support socks or support hose. Be sure and wear them for your trip and for three days after you arrive at your destination. The support socks or support hose do you no good if they are in your bag!

If you are flying choose an isle seat so you can get up and move around easily. If you are traveling by other means, be sure when you stop for gas or bathroom break to take a few extra minutes to walk around and keep your circulation moving. Don’t just sit there – do something. If you are traveling by plane and the “Fasten Seatbelt” sign is lit, here are some exercises you can do (some of these are from Boston Magazine):

Figure Eights
With your toes pointed, lift right leg off the floor and make circle eights with your foot: repeat with left leg. Repeat both several times.

Simulate Walking
Place heel on floor and rotate to toes to simulate walking. Do this at least 8 to 10 times with each foot. This activates the calf muscle pump to increase circulation.

Neck Rolls
Sit up tall and put your hands on your knees.  Nod your chin down, then roll your head to the right, then back to the left until you have completed a full circle. Do 8 to 10 neck rolls each direction.

Upper Stretch
In your seat, place the back of your hand on the small of your back. Then turn your head left and look down. You will feel a deep stretch on the right side of your neck. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds and then repeat on the other side. Do up to 3 to 5 reps on each side.

Seated Cat Stretch
Begin in a tall seated position with hands on your knees. Bring upper body towards your lap, rounding your back shoulders and neck and hold for 1 to 3 seconds. Then lift your chest and your neck, arch your back and hold. Repeat 8 to 10 times.

Quad Pulses
In your seat, hold your mid-thigh so that your thumbs are against your inner leg. Squeeze your legs so you can feel them press against your hands, hold for 3 to 5 seconds and then release. Repeat 8 to 10 times.

When the “Fasten Seatbelt” sign is off:

Standing Calf Raises
Stand up and slowly lift your heels off the floor for a three count, and then slowly lower them back down: repeat 10 times.

Hip Circles
Stand with your feet hip distance apart and place your hands on your hips. Press hour hips forward, to the right, then back, and complete a circle. Do the 8 to 10 times in each direction. Try this while waiting for the bathroom.

Sort-of Side Lunges
Stand with feet a little wider than hip-width, and shift your weight to your right leg, then lightly bend you right knee. Then shift back to the left leg and bend the left knee. Continue alternating 8 to 10 times.
 
You may feel a little awkward…don’t worry these exercises are much more subtle than the person doing yoga in the seat beside you! Drink lots of water (avoid alcohol and caffeine which dehydrate you), choose healthy snacks, and get up in move around frequently. It is up to you to be proactive to make sure your legs arrive safely.

Here’s to a wonderful journey,

Vanda
www.supporthosplus.com

Who Looks Out For The Security of Your Legs

Spring has officially arrived here in the Northern Hemisphere or has it. A couple who are friends have returned to their home on the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan after a lengthy vacation traveling the nice warm southern United States and are questioning their decision to return at this time. They shared on Facebook that they woke up to snow on the deck, the bay is still frozen and it was 35 degrees. For the rest of us the spring time weather like here in Amarillo, Texas gives us the travel bug.

If you are flying, airport security will be looking out for your safe flight by checking for bombs in shoes, explosives in hats, and (oh, of course) the .357 magnum that someone “forgot” to take out of their carry on bag. But what are you doing to make sure you arrive at your destination safely and are not attacked by enemies of a differ kind, Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) or the even more deadly Pulmonary Embolism (PA).  Either one can ruin a wonderful vacation. It is not just flying that can create these enemies… any travel by car, bus, or train that lasts 5 hours or longer is a candidate for creating these vacation ruining enemies. 

Air travel has been put on the most wanted poster more times because you are sandwiched between two other travelers, you are sitting, and sitting, and sitting in very dry, low-pressure air with lower than normal oxygen levels. Your legs are bent in the same position for hours and the seat you are sitting in for your safety is constructed with a fairly rigid  metal frame which is cutting into the back of your legs compressing the popliteal vein and slowing down the blood returning to your heart. It is at this point that you become a great candidate for a DVT. As I said, you do not have to be on a plane for this to occur…all you have to do is travel for long distances in the same position. Sitting can be dangerous for your health!

Lets make your journey one you remember because of the wonderful time you have and not because you encountered your enemies DVT and PA. Begin by choosing support socks (knee high will usually be appropriate) that will aid in returning the blood in your lower extremity back to your heart. If you have no swelling in your legs, no predisposition for developing a DVT then a 15-20mmHg compression will probably be adequate.  

Following is a list of factors that increase the risk of developing DVT:

  • Injury to a vein, often caused by:
    • Fractures
    • Severe muscle injury
    • Major surgery (especially of the abdomen, pelvis, hip, or legs)
  • Slow blood flow, often caused by:
    • Confinement to bed (possibly due to a medical condition or after surgery)
    • Limited movement (a cast on an extremity to help heal a injured bone)
    • Sitting for a long time, especially with crossed legs
    • Paralysis
    • Sedate lifestyle
  • Increased estrogen:
    • Birth control pills
    • Hormone replacement therapy, sometimes used after menopause
    • Pregnancy, for up to 6 weeks after giving birth
  • Certain Chronic medical illnesses:
    • Heart disease
    • Lung disease
    • Cancer and its treatment
    • Inflammatory bowl disease (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
  • Other facts that increase the risk of DVT include:
    • Previous DVT or PE
    • Family history of DVT or PE
    • Age (risk increases as age increases)
    • Obesity
    • A catheter located in a central vein
    • Inherited clotting disorders
    • Varicose veins

If you swell when you are not traveling or are predisposed to developing a DVT, you should choose a 20-30mmHg compression or discuss this with your physician. It is up to you to be proactive to make sure your legs arrive safely.

Here’s to a wonderful journey and thanks for shopping SupportHosePlus.com,

Vanda

PS: Next week things you can do when you travel that can save your life.

Santa Didn’t Wear His Support Socks

Hello To All,I Wish I Had Worn My Support Socks

Hope your Holiday season has been kinder to you than it was to our dear old friend Santa Clause. Santa forgot to wear his support socks for his whirl wind world trip and see how swollen his feet are!? If you have not been wearing your support socks or support stockings, your feet may look just like Santa’s and you may feel just as tired as Santa.

All kidding aside, when you take your get away this winter or spring be sure to wear your compression socks or compression stockings. The number of travel-related vein conditions is increasing each year. No matter how you travel, blood circulation in the lower extremity is reduced simply because you are sitting in one position. Symptoms such as heavy legs, leg pain, or swollen feet and ankles develop. The reduced circulation in the lower leg can lead to blood clots (DVT) or even worse the blood clots could break loose and travel to the lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolism (PE) which can be deadly.

Blood clots are more common in the left leg, possibly because the femoral artery in that leg passes anterior to the vein, and may compress the vein. Symptoms do not usually develop immediately after travel, but more likely within three days of arrival at your destination. Symptoms may not manifest themselves for up to two weeks after a long trip. Symptoms include: pain in leg or pelvis, tenderness and swelling of the leg, discoloration of the leg (reddish), areas of the leg or pelvis region that feel warm to touch, or whole leg swelling.

DVT kills more people every year than AIDS, breast cancer, and traffic accidents combined. Don’t be like Santa, wear your support hose or support socks and arrive at your destination ready for a fun time!

Things You Can Do To Prevent DVT When You Travel

  • Wear comfortable, loose clothing
  • Get up and walk once every hour or two
  • Make figure eights and circles with your feet while seated
  • Breathe deeply frequently
  • Drink plenty of water (Avoid excessive alcohol intake – it dehydrates the body)
  • Elevate your feet when possible
  • Wear your support sock and stockings from Support Hose Plus

Just remember to wear support socks or support stockings when you travel and continue to wear them for the next few days after your arrival at your destination to make sure your legs return to normal size. Encourage friends or family who are traveling with you to do the same. (They may not know about the dangers of Travel Related DVT.) They may not have any problems, so a 15-20mmHg compression may be adequate for them.

Ho! Ho! Ho!
Happy Travels to You and Yours,

Vanda